Are You a Snackaholic?

SAD News for the SAD – The Standard American Diet!!! What happened to “whole real food”?

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Sales of cookies, chips, candy and popcorn are soaring as America binges on snacks.
Stunning stat: Nearly half of U.S. consumers are eating three or more snacks a day — up 8% in the last two years, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing market-research firm Circana.
Snack sales ballooned to $181 billion last year, up 11% from the year before, according to Circana.
What’s happening: Mondelez International — maker of Oreos, Ritz Crackers, Swedish Fish and more — saw sales jump 22% between 2019 and 2022.
Hershey’s sales rose 30%.
America’s love of snacks is leading to “the ‘snack-ification’ of everything,” Andrea Hernández, who writes Snaxshot, a newsletter on food and beverage trends, told The Journal.
Kellogg is pitching breakfast cereal, including Apple Jacks and
Froot Loops, as snacks.

Are Keto and Paleo Diets Heart Healthy?

Popular keto and paleo diets aren’t helping your heart, report says
An analysis of various diets gave low marks to some of the most popular ones for straying from heart-healthy eating guidelines

By Anahad O’Connor
April 27, 2023 at 5:00 a.m. EDT

Washington Post:

Ketogenic and paleo diets may be trendy, but they won’t do your heart any favors.
That’s the conclusion of a report from the American Heart Association, which analyzed many of the most popular diets and ranked them based on which approaches to eating are best and worst for your heart.

The authors said one of the purposes of their report was to counter widespread misinformation about nutrition promoted by diet books, blogs and people on TikTok, Instagram and Twitter — where posts promoting keto and paleo eating plans have surged in recent years.

The amount of misinformation that has flourished on social media sites has reached “critical levels,” said Christopher D. Gardner, the director of nutrition studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Center and chair of the committee that wrote the report.

“The public and many health-care professionals are likely confused about heart-healthy eating, and rightfully so,” he added. “Many of them likely feel that they don’t have the training or the time to evaluate the important features of the different diets.”
Ranking diets for heart health
The report, published Thursday in the journal Circulation, was drafted by a team of nutrition scientists, cardiologists, dietitians, and other health experts, who analyzed a variety of dietary patterns.
The diets were evaluated to see how closely they aligned with guidelines for heart-healthy eating, which are based on evidence from decades of randomized controlled trials, epidemiological research and other studies. The report also took into account factors like whether the diets allowed flexibility so that people could tailor them based on their cultural and personal preferences and budgetary constraints

The include advice to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains like brown rice, bulgur, and steel cut oats, as well as lean cuts of meat and foods like olive oil, vegetable oils and seafood, which is high in protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
The group recommends limiting foods that are salty, sugary, highly processed or made with white flour and other refined grains. These include things like soft drinks, white bread, white pasta, cookies, cakes, pastries and processed meats such as hot dogs, sausages and cold cuts.
As for alcohol, the evidence that it provides a cardiovascular benefit is questionable. The heart association says that people who don’t drink shouldn’t start, and that if you do drink, you should limit your intake.
Popular low-carb diets scored lowest
The heart association gave its lowest rankings, using a scale of 0 to 100, to some of the buzziest diets widely touted on social media. These included very-low-carb regimens like the Atkins and ketogenic diets (31 points) and the paleo diet (53 points).
Following such diets typically requires restricting your carbohydrate intake to less than 10 percent of daily calories. The diets are widely promoted for weight loss and endorsed by many celebrities.
“People are so carb-phobic, and that’s one of the things that you see on Instagram — that carbs are bad,” said Lisa Young, an adjunct professor of nutrition at New York University, who was not involved in the report. “But that’s misinformation. Fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains are good for you — these are healthy carbs. These foods are the cornerstone of a healthy diet.”
The report noted that the Atkins and keto diets have some beneficial features: They restrict sugar and refined grains, for example, and they encourage the consumption of non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, leafy greens, and cauliflower. But they generally require limiting a lot of “healthy” carbs that align with the heart association’s dietary principles, like beans, whole grains, starchy veggies, and many fruits. And they typically include a high intake of fatty meats and foods rich in saturated fat.

Some studies have found that very-low-carb diets can help with weight loss and improve certain markers of metabolic health, like blood sugar and triglyceride levels. But the heart association’s report noted that these improvements tend to be short-lasting, and that very-low-carb diets often cause an increase in LDL cholesterol levels, which can heighten the risk of heart disease.
The report found similar problems with the paleo diet, which excludes grains, vegetable oils, most dairy products and legumes such as peanuts and soybeans. The theory behind the diet is that it allows foods like fruit and honey that our hunter-gatherer ancestors had access to but excludes grains and other foods associated with modern agriculture.
The diets have also been criticized for what is often interpreted as an all-you-can-eat stance toward red meat, from steaks and burgers to bacon and processed deli meats. TikTok’s “Liver King,” for instance, gained popularity advocating a controversial meat-heavy “ancestral” diet consisting largely of organ and muscle meats.
The low ranking for the ketogenic and paleo diets is expected to generate controversy. In 2019, three doctors published an essay in JAMA Internal Medicine cautioning that the enthusiasm for the ketogenic diet was outpacing the science. The research was polarizing, generating a flood of emails of both support and condemnation.
Colette Heimowitz, vice president of nutrition and education at Atkins, said that the new report failed to adequately describe the Atkins diet, which includes three approaches with different carbohydrate limits.
One approach, which is typically used on a short-term basis for weight loss, allows only 20 grams of carbs per day. Another version of Atkins allows 40 grams of carbs per day, and the third approach allows people to have up to 100 grams of carbs daily, including small amounts of fruit, starchy vegetables, beans and whole grains. “Evidence suggests that Americans have varying tolerances to carbohydrate loads,” Heimowitz said. “So carb-focused dietary patterns like Atkins have never been more relevant.”
The four winning heart diets
The heart association gave its highest mark — a score of 100 — to the DASH pattern of eating, which stands for “dietary approaches to stop hypertension.” Developed by researchers at the National Institutes of Health in the 1990s, the DASH diet is widely endorsed by doctors, dietitians and other nutrition experts.
But it’s not exactly buzzworthy among celebrities and social media influencers. The diet emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and low-fat dairy, while encouraging people to limit their intake of salt, fatty meats, added sugars and refined grains.
The DASH diet and three others with high scores were grouped into what the heart association called Tier 1. The others in the Tier 1 group included the pescatarian diet (92 points), the Mediterranean diet (89 points) and the vegetarian diet (86 points).
While these diets have small differences, they also share some common denominators — promoting fresh produce, whole grains, beans and other plants and whole foods. The pescatarian diet is similar to the vegetarian diet, but it allows seafood. The Mediterranean diet promotes moderate drinking, while the DASH diet allows alcohol but doesn’t encourage it.
“The conclusion that we came away with between these diets is that they’re all fine and very consistent with a heart-healthy diet,” Gardner said.
Vegan and low-fat diets
Gardner emphasized that the report judged diets based on how they are “intended” to be followed, not necessarily on how some people actually follow or interpret them.
For instance, a vegetarian can drink Coca-Cola and eat potato chips and a McDonald’s Egg McMuffin without the meat for breakfast. It’s a vegetarian diet, but not exactly a heart-healthy vegetarian diet, Gardner said.
“That’s not what we have in mind when we say people should follow a plant-based diet,” he added. “I know from doing these studies that people don’t always follow diets as they’re intended: They follow them based on misinformation.”
The report included two other tiers of dietary patterns. Vegan and low-fat diets were grouped into the second tier because they encourage eating fiber-rich plants, fruits and veggies while limiting sugary foods and alcohol. But the report noted that they are quite restrictive and can be difficult for many people to follow. The vegan diet, in particular, can increase the risk of developing a vitamin B12 deficiency and other problems
The third tier of diets received the second-lowest range of scores. This group included low-carb approaches like the South Beach and Zone diets, which limit carbs to 30 or 40 percent of daily calories, as well as very-low-fat diet plans such as the Ornish, Esselstyn and Pritikin programs, which restrict fat intake to less than 10 percent of daily calories.
These diets received lower scores because they limit or eliminate a number of healthy foods, the report found. People on low-carb diets, for instance, tend to eat less fiber and more saturated fat, while people on very-low-fat diets have to cut back on all types of fat, including the healthy unsaturated fats found in olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds.
Despite giving some diets low scores, the report did find that all of the diets across every tier had four positive things in common: They encouraged people to eat whole foods, more non-starchy vegetables, less added sugar and fewer refined grains.
“If we could get Americans to do those four things, that would go a long way toward everyone eating a healthy diet,” Gardner said.

Long COVID and Healthy Lifestyles

10 tips to keeping a healthy nutrition routine

Researchers have found that adhering to a healthy lifestyle in women may protect against Long Covid. These include: healthy body weight, not smoking, exercising, sleeping well, eating a healthy diet. Symptoms of long covid are defined as having fatigue, fever, respiratory, heart, neurological, and digestive issues four or more weeks after initial SARS-CoV-2 infection. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Author: Mark A. Mahoney ( 10 Tips to keeping a healthy nutrition )

With the recent 50th anniversary of 2023 National Nutrition Month in March, it’s a good time to continue to focus on important messages and proactive actions.

Today’s column focuses on some healthful messages and actions that can be taken to help us achieve a better quality of life as well as a note on a diet that can provide us with many-varied benefits and also helps foster more environmental sustainability.

Some general overall health tips that are recommended follows:

1. Eat breakfast

Start your day with a healthy breakfast that includes lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

2. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables

Fruits and veggies add color, flavor and texture plus vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber to your plate.

3. Watch portion sizes

Use half your plate for fruits and vegetables and the other half for grains and lean protein foods. Complete the meal with a serving of fat-free or low-fat milk or yogurt.

4. Be active

Regular physical activity has many health benefits. Start by doing what exercise you can. Children and teens should get 60 or more minutes of physical activity per day, and adults at least two hours and 30 minutes per week.

5. Get to know food labels

Reading the Nutrition Facts panel can help you choose foods and drinks to meet your nutrient needs.

6. Fix healthy snacks

Healthy snacks can sustain your energy levels between meals, especially when they include a combination of foods.

7. Consult an RDN

Whether you want to lose weight, lower your health-risks or manage a chronic disease, consult the experts! Registered dietitian nutritionists can help you by providing sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice.

8. Follow food safety guidelines

Reduce your chances of getting sick with proper food safety. This includes: regular hand washing, separating raw foods from ready-to-eat foods, cooking foods to the appropriate internal temperature, and refrigerating food promptly. Learn more about home food safety at

9. Drink more water

Quench your thirst with water instead of drinks with added sugars.

10. Make an effort to reduce food waste

Check out what foods you have on hand before stocking up at the grocery store. Plan meals based on leftovers and only buy perishable foods you will use or freeze within a couple of days.

Thanks to District 10s health department in Michigan for the tips provided above.

Eating with sustainability in mind focuses on nourishing ourselves during every phase of life while emphasizing the protection of the environment. Information on one evidenced-based diet that can contribute to one’s health follows.

I Call This The Mediterranean Bowl Full Of Leafy Greens Roasted Chickpeas And Additional Vegetables Make This A Delicious Mediterranean Diet Meal

I Call This The Mediterranean Bowl Full Of Leafy Greens Roasted Chickpeas And Additional Vegetables Make This A Delicious Mediterranean Diet Meal

The Mediterranean diet

One diet that is very promising for achieving a more healthful lifestyle and also focuses on the theme of National Nutrition Month is the Mediterranean diet.

The Mediterranean Diet emphasizes plant-based foods and healthy fats. You eat mostly veggies, fruits and whole grains. Olive oil is the main source of fat. Research shows the Mediterranean Diet can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and many other chronic conditions.

The Mediterranean Diet is also considered to be a potent intervention for reducing body weight. Several studies investigating this traditional diet have highlighted its importance in preventing and managing non-communicable diseases and mortality.

Improving our quality of life through living a healthy lifestyle is a process, not something that just magically appears. Taking good messages and messengers to “heart” are a key part of this approach. Good luck with taking a more proactive approach to better health in 2023 looking toward a life-long approach to a healthier you. Do it for yourself and your family.

Additional reference sites for science-based resources are provided at the end of this column including information on the Mediterranean diet.

Additional resources

Healthy eating for a healthy weight is available at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at

A good resource for Information on the Mediterranean diet is available at the following

New research on the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet for managing obesity is available at

Are Our Diets Killing US?

” A 2010 report from the National Cancer Institute on the status of the American diet found that three out of four Americans don’t eat a single piece of fruit in a given day, and nearly nine out of ten don’t reach the minimum recommended daily intake of vegetables. On a weekly basis, 96 percent of Americans don’t reach the minimum for greens or beans (three servings a week for adults), 98 percent don’t reach the minimum for orange vegetables (two servings a week), and 99 percent don’t reach the minimum for whole grains (about three to four ounces a day). “In conclusion,” the researchers wrote, “nearly the entire U.S. population consumes a diet that is not on par with recommendations. These findings add another piece to the rather disturbing picture that is emerging of a nation’s diet in crisis.” About this blog by Sally J. Feltner, MS, PhD.

What are Nitrates?


Written by Kathleen M. Zelman, RD, LD, MPH

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on March 17, 2022

Beet juice may boost stamina to help you exercise longer, improve blood flow, and help lower blood pressure, some research shows.

Why? Beets are rich in natural chemicals called nitrates. Through a chain reaction, your body changes nitrates into nitric oxide, which helps with blood flow and blood pressure.

Nitric oxide plays a major role in the dilation of blood vessels thus increasing blood flow It is also vital for maintaining healthy blood pressure and platelet function.

Nitric oxide production in the body decreases with age. Low levels are associated with heart disease, cognitive decline, and dementia. This can result in endothelial dysfunction (inner walls of arteries). The vessels cannot dilate properly or widen, leading to or increasing blood pressure and sometimes atherosclerosis, heart attacks, abnormal clotting, strokes and sudden cardiac death.

Beet Juice Nutrition

One cup of raw beets has 58 calories and 13 grams of carbohydrates. A cup of beet juice is usually around 100 calories and 25 grams of carbohydrates.

Beets are good sources of folate, potassium, vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants, as well as nitrates.

Other good food sources of nitrates include spinach, radishes, lettuce, celery, and Chinese cabbage.

Raw or cooked beetroot offers about 8–10% carbs.

Simple sugars — such as glucose and fructose — make up 70% and 80% of the carbs in raw and cooked beetroots, respectively.

Beetroots are also a source of fructans — short-chain carbs classified as FODMAPs. Some people cannot digest FODMAPs, causing unpleasant digestive symptoms.

Beetroots have a glycemic index (GI) score of 61, which is considered medium. The GI is a measure of how fast blood sugar levels rise after a meal.

On the other hand, the glycemic load of beetroots is only 5, which is very low.

This means that beetroots should not have a major effect on blood sugar levels because the total carb amount in each serving is low.


Beetroots are high in fiber, providing about 2–3 grams in each 3/4-cup (100-gram) raw serving.

Dietary fiber is important as part of a healthy diet and linked to a reduced risk of various diseases .

Is Food Addictive?

Fatty and sugary foods train your brain to hate healthier options: Yale study

People crave fatty and sugary foods when they consume them daily — and the pattern can be hard to break, researchers at Yale University and the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research in Germany have determined in new research.

The study, published online Wednesday in the journal Cell Metabolism, found eating a snack high in fat and sugar every day alters the reward circuits in human brains to create lasting preferences.

Participants were divided into two groups and told to continue their normal eating habits, except for one major difference.

Researchers gave one group yogurt high in fat and sugar twice daily for eight weeks, while the other group received a low fat lowl-fat, low-sugar version.

At the end of the eight weeks, participants were offered puddings with varying fat contents and apple juice containing differing sugar levels and told to rate them for fattiness, creaminess, oiliness, sweetness, desire and satisfaction.

Scientists found the group that was used to eating the yogurt higher in sugar and fat didn’t enjoy the healthier options as much as they had before the study.

The participants also underwent MRI scans to track brain activity while drinking milkshakes, which showed increased activity for the high-sugar, high-fat group, but not for the other group.

“Let’s say a new bakery opens up next to your work and you start stopping in and having a scone every morning. That alone can rewire your basic fundamental dopamine learning circuits,” Dana Small, the study’s senior author and director of Yale University School of Medicine’s Modern Diet and Physiology Research Center, told NBC News.


The authors likened the findings to the effects of addictive drugs, saying exposure to foods high in sugar and fat indicates that habitual factors contribute to obesity — not just genetic and environmental influences, as previously thought.The study found those eating food higher in fat and sugar continued to crave it.

In discussing food addiction, it’s the link between the gut and the brain. “When highly processed food is ingested, the body is flooded with heavy loads of salt, sugar and fat, as expressed in his book “Salt, Sugar Fat, by Michael Moss. Once ingested, they race along the same pathways, using the same neurological circuits to reach the brain’s pleasure zones…responsible for enjoyable feelings for what it thinks is the right thing for the body.”

Michael Moss, Salt, Sugar, Fat. How the Food Giants Hooked Us. Random House Trade Paperback Edition, 2014

Vitamin B12: The Facts At a Glance

Important Facts about Vitamin B12
Sally Feltner MS, PhD Diet and Health, General October 15, 2020 2 Minutes
March 27, 2019 by foodworksblog Leave a comment

Vitamin B12 is often overlooked as to its importance to human health. Vitamin B12 is needed for the metabolism of another vitamin, folate as well as fatty acids to maintain the insulating layer of myelin surrounding nerve fibers. When myelin degenerates, neurological symptoms occur that include numbness, tingling, memory loss and disorientation. If not treated, it can eventually cause paralysis and death. On the other hand, a deficiency is rare, but can be a public health concern due to marginal B12 status due to either low intake or problems with absorption as often found in the older adult. This deficiency may also occur in people who attempt to practice a strict vegan diet as this vitamin is found almost exclusively in animal products.Vegan diets are a concern due to B12 found only in animal foods. Severe deficiencies have been found in breast – fed infants of vegan women and marginal deficiencies for all vegans if supplemental or fortified foods are not consumed in the diet.

The absorption of B12 from food requires adequate levels of stomach acid, intrinsic factor (produced in the stomach) and pancreatic secretions. Even though it is a water-soluble vitamin, the body stores and reuses it more efficiently that it does other water soluble vitamins. Poor absorption of vitamin B12 can result from a condition called pernicious anemia. It is an autoimmune disease in which the cells in the stomach that produce intrinsic factor are destroyed. This can be treated by using injections or megadoses of the vitamin. When this occurs, intrinsic factor is not necessary since synthetic B12 found in supplements are used that bypass the digestive system.

Primary Food Sources
Fish, seafood
Milk and cheese
Ready to eat cereals

Highlights and Comments
Older people, those with previous stomach surgery, and vegans are at risk for deficiency.
Some people become B12 deficient because they are unable to absorb it (pernicious anemia).
Vitamin B12 is found in animal products and microorganisms only.

Source: Smolin, Lori A. & , Grosvenor, Mary B. Nutrition, Science and Applications, Third Edition
Judith E. Brown, Nutrition Now, 7th Edition

How Fish Oil Prevents Heart Disease?

Fat is a key nutrient in our diet and is often the first thing you may note on a food label. Most foods contain a mixture of many different types of fat: the commonest are saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and trans fats. Polyunsaturated fats are divided into two major families: omega-6 and omega-3’s. Are some good and some bad.? This conundrum is often debated among nutritionists and still a definitive answer remains elusive.

What exactly are the omega-6 and omega 3 fats?
We have to begin with the polyunsaturated essential fatty acids, linoleic (omega-6) (LA)  and alpha linolenic acids (omega-three) (ALA). They are called essential because they cannot be made in the body and must be acquired from the diet.
Linoleic acid (LA) is required for growth, healthy skin and normal functioning of the reproductive system and is a structural part of cell membranes.  Foods high in omega 6 fats include unhealthy foods like processed snacks, fast foods, cakes, fatty meats, and cured meats. Other omega 6 foods are healthy including tofu, walnuts, and peanut butter. They are also prevalent in vegetable oils, like corn oil, safflower, sunflower and soybean oils. Linoleic acid is converted in the body to another fatty acid called arachidonic acid (AA). Food sources of AA include meat, poultry, and eggs.
Alpha linolenic acid (ALA) is also a structural compound of cell membranes and found in high amounts in the brain. Alpha linolenic acid is found in walnuts, dark, leafy green vegetables, flaxseed and chia seeds, canola and soybean oils. However, this post is primarily associated with fish oil and heart risks.
ALA is converted in the body to two more fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DHA) which is what you find on fish oil supplement labels. This conversion rate of ALA to EPA can be slow and may depend on many factors, one being the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids.
EPA and DHA are found in fish, krill, and algae oil capsules as well as in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, herring and trout. The AI for omega-3 fatty acids is 1.6 grams (men) and 1.1 g (women).
Arachidonic acid and EPA are necessary for making hormone-like compounds called eicosanoids, hormone-like compounds that participate in regulation of blood pressure, blood clotting, inflammation, and a host of other important body functions.

So, the major players so far are: LA, ALA, AA, EPA, and DHA.

What is the omega-6/omega-3 ratio?
It is not enough to consume adequate levels of omega-3 fats but to avoid over-consumption of omega-6 fatty acids. Most modern diets contain excessive amounts of omega-6s and insufficient amounts of omega-3s. Americans regularly eat vegetable oils but eat fish infrequently, so we end up with many more omega-6s and fewer omega-3s.
The optimal 6 to 3 ratio approaches 4:1 that may be difficult for some people in our current food environment to achieve, so we try for 4:1 in hopes of realistically attaining less than 10:1. On average in the U.S., the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is a disastrous 16:1. Soybean oil, an omega-6 is so ubiquitous in the food supply that an astounding percent of calories from fat in the American diet (especially processed foods) are estimated to come from this single omega-6 source.

How Do Eicosanoids Affect Health?
Omega-6 fatty acids produce eicosanoids that tend to favor higher blood pressure, more blood clotting, and inflammatory compounds in the body.  They are often referred to as “bad” eicosanoids.
Omega-3 fatty acids produce eicosanoids with opposing healthier effects, i.e., lower blood pressure, less blood clotting, and anti-inflammatory effects.  They are often referred to a “good” eicosanoids.
Eicosanoids from omega-3 EPA can diminish the effects of the “bad” eicosanoids by producing opposing compounds that will help tip the ratio back to a more favorable eicosanoid environment in the cell.
Another way to improve the fatty acid ratio is to help block excess arachidonic acid formation. By making sure your body has an adequate amount of EPA that acts as an inhibitor of the enzyme that can produces the “bad” eicosanoids.   The higher the EPA in the diet, the more the enzyme is inhibited, and the less “bad” eicosanoids are produced.
The problem with vegetable oils
“Vegetable oils that turn rancid easily have been used since lard was designated as having a high saturated fat content when the low-fat craze to prevent heart disease was in full swing. The troubled history of these oils has never been resolved.  In a series of workshops in the 1980’s, it was observed that using diets high in soybean oil showed subjects dying of cancer at very high rates. Gallstones were also associated with diets high in vegetable oils. Subsequent research demonstrated that these oils that are high in omega-6, compete with the healthier omega-3’s found in fish virtually at important spots in every cell membrane throughout the body, including those in the brain.” (Nina Teicholz,

The Big Fat Surprise
The vast amount of omega-6 that has entered our food supply via vegetable oils appear to have literally swamped the omega-3’s (the supply of which has remained relatively constant over the past century. (Teicholz,  page 275-6). Conversely, the American Heart Association encourages Americans to eat more vegetable oils due to their ability to lower LDL-cholesterol (the bad cholesterol.)
Nonetheless, excessive intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6, has several risks. The double bonds in the fatty acid molecules are very reactive. They tend to react with oxygen, forming chain reactions of free radicals. These free radicals can cause cell damage, which is one of the mechanisms behind aging and the onset of cancer.

If you want to improve your ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, it’s probably a bad idea to eat a lot of omega-3 to compensate. Having a relatively low, balanced amount of each is best. Using olive oil in salad dressings and coconut oil for cooking is recommended. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fat and coconut oil is more stable since it has more saturated fat content. Neither are part of the omega-6 or omega-3 families.

What to Take Away from all this:
Linoleic acid (LA), an omega-6 fatty acid, and α-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid, are considered essential fatty acids because they cannot be made in the body by humans.
Both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are important structural components of cell membranes, serve as precursors to eicosanoids and provide a source of energy. Long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in particular exert anti-inflammatory effects; it is recommended to increase their presence in the diet.
The long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), can be synthesized from ALA, but due to low conversion efficiency, it is recommended to consume foods rich in EPA and DHA or consume fewer omega-6 foods.

Peanuts and Vascular Health

Here’s why eating peanuts is so important for good blood flow
March 28, 2023
by John Anderer
BARCELONA, Spain — When it comes to snacking, many studies already show peanuts are a healthy choice and great source of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Now, new research out of Spain suggests people should be eating more peanuts and peanut butter — even if they’re young and healthy! Scientists from the University of Barcelona report that peanuts may have a beneficial impact on vascular health in young and healthy individuals.
Peanuts come from the leguminous plant Arachis hypogaea. They’re the most widely consumed nuts around the world. Peanuts are high in fatty acids, protein, fiber, and polyphenols — making them a convenient, accessible, and nutrient-rich snack that can contribute to a healthy lifestyle instead of hindering one’s fitness goals.

Traditionally, most nutritional studies focus on analyzing any and all significant differences among people with a high risk of suffering from a disease, especially older people. For this population profile, however, researchers say it is easier to observe potential beneficial effects by altering dietary patterns or introducing a healthy food into their usual diets.

This project included 63 healthy young people, all between ages of 18 and 33. They had to add a daily portion of peanut products to their regular diets for six months.
“In this study group, it is more difficult to see any effect of dietary changes on health,” says Professor Rosa M. Lamuela, from the UB Department of Nutrition, Food Science and Gastronomy, in a university release.

What do peanuts do for the blood?
This study is the first ever nutritional intervention to confirm that vascular markers improved in relation to both antithrombotic (reducing blood clots) and vasodilator (dilating blood vessels) effects among healthy young people after eating peanuts.
“The results reveal a significant increase in urinary levels of phenolic metabolites in those young people who had eaten a daily dose of peanuts and peanut butter compared to the control group, which had eaten a cream without fiber or polyphenols,” Prof. Lamuela explains. “Similarly, participants who ate peanuts or peanut butter also showed improved levels of prostacyclin I2 and the ratio between thromboxane A2 and prostacyclin I2, lipid molecules (eicosanoids) which are considered markers of vascular health.”

“Interestingly, some phenolic metabolites that increased significantly after the consumption of peanut products —especially hydroxycinnamic acids— also correlated with the improvement in both markers,” adds researcher Isabella Parilli-Moser (INSA-UB-CIBERobn), first author of the study.
These findings further reinforce a hypothesis often defended in scientific literature and previous studies by the research team regarding the protective effect of polyphenols on cardiovascular diseases in adults, as well as their effects on blood vessels. Polyphenols are the primary dietary antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, according to the team.

Moreover, studies show eating nuts and peanuts has a link to a lower risk of developing both cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, especially due to the protective effect of the polyphenols in such foods. All in all, while this work suggests peanuts can benefit vascular health, more research is necessary before scientists can form a full understanding of all the factors at play.
“We need more studies to fully understand the mechanisms that explain the positive effects of peanut consumption on vascular health,” researchers conclude.
The findings appear in the journal Antioxidants.